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HomeLive StreamPolice request defied as crowd gathers to honour Sarah Everard

Police request defied as crowd gathers to honour Sarah Everard

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Hundreds of people defied police requests to gather at Clapham Common on Saturday evening as others held virtual vigils in memory of Sarah Everard

Some clashes broke out as emotions ran high at the gathering in south London, close to where 33-year-old Ms Everard disappeared.

Officers surrounded the bandstand, where people have laid flowers, and members of the crowd could be heard shouting “shame on you”.

Sarah Everard death / PA Wire

An official vigil was cancelled – as were others across the UK – due to coronavirus restrictions, but a virtual event was held at 6pm in which campaigners called for more to be done to tackle violence against women.

A minute’s silence was held and candles were lit during the online vigil hosted by Feminists of London, with television presenter Sandi Toksvig calling for Ms Everard’s death to be a “turning point”.

In Clapham, one video posted online showed officers grabbing women standing within the bandstand before leading them away, to screaming and shouting from onlookers.

Campaign group Sisters Uncut, which had representatives present at the demonstration, claimed that “male police officers waited for the sun to set before they started grabbing and manhandling women in the crowd”.

The Metropolitan Police was criticised for its policing of the gathering, with one MP describing it as “heartbreaking and maddening to watch”.

Sarah Everard death / PA Wire

Labour’s Sarah Owen added: “No one can see these scenes and think that this has been handled anything but badly by @metpoliceuk. It could and should have been so different.”

Charlotte Nichols, shadow minister for women and equalities, tweeted: “If @metpoliceuk had put the resources into assisting @ReclaimTS to hold the covid-secure vigil originally planned that they put into stopping any collective show of grief and solidarity (both through the courts and a heavy-handed physical response), we’d all be in a better place.”

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